I’ve been taking Major Tom out for a few gentle test rides, a couple of miles at a time, and it is truly astonishing how much I have to learn. Or rather, re-learn. My first multi-speed bike had downtube shifters, and I can remember having to shift and then trim, but I’m so out of practise! That three-speed’s really spoilt me, so easy to ride and control, not in the slighted bit nervous or twitchy. Major Tom is just the exact opposite.
I’m so rusty on derailleurs. Every time I come to a standstill I forget to change down, so I’m stuck in far too high a gear huffing and puffing like an idiot. I did get a teensy bit of an idea of what my cadence should be and how that felt, but it’s very different to a three-speed, which I ride more like a single-speed-with-options. You need a reason to shift gear on that, and the idea of shifting to maintain cadence is still felling pretty foreign right now.
Also I’m still feeling a bit weirded out by the difference in the riding position. It’s not uncomfortable, just very, very strange when you’ve been used to leaning back admiring the view to find yourself hurtling along headfirst like some demented human cannonball. I’ll get there, but I still haven’t managed over 23mph and that was downhill. I think it’s mainly that because I’m closer to the ground it feels much faster. That and the uncomfortable saddle sending every little shock through my pelvis.
Anyway, I’ve got a lock and some (non-permanent) lights for him, so he’s now officially available for duty. By Thursday I should have him fitted with the Selle Italia Turbo saddle, which I hope will rectify my saddle issues. He’s going to look the absolute business with that on top, and it hasn’t escaped my attention that, being a steel road bike made before 1987, and being in original condition, he’s 100% eligible for L’Eroica.
Well, it’s a long way off yet, but daydreams of riding the Eroica Britannia are just what I need to get me out on the bike and getting to grips with all the nuances of these new-fangled derailleur thingies… I wonder where I can get a customised BSA jersey made up?
P.s. Rather interesting, don’t you think, that indexed shifters don’t seem to have been around that long, but Sturmey Archer three-speeds have had index shifting since the war!